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Exploit - Crisi CD (album) cover

CRISI

Exploit

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.25 | 13 ratings

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Finnforest
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Early Italian prog rarity

Expoit were a threesome from Rome who released this very rare title "Crisi" on a small label called CGO. The album had a very small pressing and original went for big dollars among collectors over the years. Thankfully the fine folks at Mellow reissued this in 1994 as MMP-189. The available information on these guys is scarce but I will share what I was able to find. Apparently they were a "ghost" group of studio cats who played on material for others but didn't like playing live in public. This, their only album, is hailed by Italianprog as being "ELP and Orme" influenced while the Barotto's wonderful "Italian Pop" book mentions The Trip and also Garybaldi as additional reference points. What I find notable about "Crisi" is contrasts in the style and performance, and the time frame. Notice this album was released in 1972 so this is an early entry on the scene, right there with some of the initial heavy hitters before the peak in '73. The side-long title suite, while more on the conventional side in terms of sounds, was anything but in the attacking performance. They employ only keys, bass, drums, and a few vocals. No guitars, no flute, no orchestration, and no period weirdness. But they take those minimal conventional weapons and they attack with their performance to great satisfaction. While far from the greatest compositional masterpiece I've ever heard, I really loved the Crisi sound which is simple yet muscular, laid-back yet loaded with attitude. The bit about them being studio cats who didn't care for the stage makes sense after hearing them. These guys enjoy ripping it up, and likely just decided to lay it down on tape noticing the Italian scene starting to explode around them. Last, I just love the cover art which again speaks to the character of the music. Simple but creative line drawings: three depicting our characters as street musicians playing for a dime, and one inside showing a drink later at the pub. That's it, nothing else. Exploit's unique early sound is captured for the annals of Italian music and yet they remain the mystery which I'm guessing that they might just enjoy.

The Crisi suite! Part 1 "Speranza" features a dramatic opening with organ and huge bass sound in a sort of boom-boom march. Then it loosens up with the drumming getting really tasty, lots of wild fills and jazzy play. At 2 minutes the piano joins the organ and they play off each other in different channels with the rhythm section tight. Halfway through the vocals come in and sadly they are in English (though they sing both English and Italian later.) The quality of the vocals is not the greatest but they are certainly decent enough. After a verse they let tear with fast jazzy passages of bass and organ, and they just keep shifting things subtlety to keep them interesting. There are a few slower parts where a certain dreaminess pervades the track and I enjoy that feeling. Part 2 "Crisi" starts with a frisky as hell keyboard opening leading into the vocal portion that is in Italian and much the better for it. I have trouble deciding who this guy sounds like but he does a nice job. Between the verses we have more great competitive workouts between the agile bass, crisp drum work and keys. Part 3 "Pazzia" is a bit of a change-up opening with a drum solo. For 90 seconds Aldo Pignanelli takes his crack at music history as he lets rip with a tight and controlled drum solo, in particular I like the sound of his snare. After that the others return and drive things to another raucous state before they lay back for another vocal, slipping back to English again in this third act. Side 2 of this album consists of six conventional pop/rock singles. The are the kind of songs you will hear added as bonus tracks at the end of many classic Italian CD reissues. You know the kind of song.they want to entice your wallet so they throw on a couple early or post peak singles at the end as "bonus" tracks. In this case, since Exploit made only one-half of a magnum opus, those singles have been used to fill up side 2. There's nothing particularly wrong with them, they're nice to listen to featuring the same quality performances and some nice typical Italian pop. It's just that the material here is predictable 3 minute track with verse and chorus. Some guitar and female harmonies are present on side 2.

So, despite this really being half an album from the progger standpoint, I do recommend Exploit to Italian fans for sure, and even to others who might appreciate an organ-heavy, somewhat jazzy 20 minute jam with great drums and bass. Four solid stars for the Crisi-suite but side two drags the overall rating down to a 3.

Finnforest | 3/5 |

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